Confucius HIS LIFE


Confucius was believed to have been born in 551 BC., in the
state of Lu, known today as the Shandong province. His
parents, who died while he was a child, named him Kong Qui.
Confucius was derived from the Latin word Kongfuzi which
means Great Master Kong. Confucius was the most influential
and respected philosopher in Chinese history. His ideas
were the single strongest influence on Chinese society from
around 100 BC. to the AD. 1900's. The Chinese government
made his ideas the official state philosophy and many
nearby countries honored his beliefs. Confucius wanted to
gain the position as an adviser to a wise ruler, but he
failed. He hoped to do this in order to be able to employ
his ideas for reforming society. If it wasn't for the
disciples of Confucius his teachings would have never been
spread around China, and he would have never been made
known. His teachings were never written down by him, but
his conversations and sayings were written down by his
disciples in the analects .CONFUCIANISM Confucianism was
the single most important thing in Chinese life. It
affected everything in China; education, government, and
attitudes toward behavior in public and private life.
Confucianism is not a religion, but it is more a philosophy
and a guide to morality and good government. At the time
Confucius was born, China was in a constant state of war,
and rapid political change altered the structure of Chinese
society so much that people no longer respected the
established behavioral guidelines. Confucius stated that
the ideal person was one of good moral character. The ideal
person was also truly reverent in worship and sincerely
respected his father and his ruler. He was expected to
think for himself, guided by definite rules of conduct. As
Confucius said, he was expected to take "as much trouble to
discover what was right as lesser men take to discover what
will pay". Confucius believed that this type of behavior by
rulers had a greater effect on the people than did laws or
codes of punishment. So when these types of people were
rulers, their moral example would inspire the people to
lead good lives. Confucius died sometime around 479 B.C.,
and his philosophy was not very well known. If it weren't
for his disciples his ideas would probably still be
unknown. Confucius never wrote anything down himself; his
disciples wrote all of his sayings down in a collection of
books called the Analects. These contain all that modern
day man knows about Confucius. There existed two important
Confucian philosophers-Mencius (390-305 BC) and Xunzi (mid
200's B.C.). They held beliefs similar to Confucius but
they were somewhat different. Mencius's viewpoint was that
people were born good, and that they had to "preserve the
natural compassion of the heart". Xunzi opposed this by
saying that people could be good and live peacefully only
if their minds were shaped by education and conduct. Both
of these ideas parallel Confucius's, in that they both
state that people can be good. Confucianism was concerned
primarily with the needs of society, and unlike Buddhism
and Taoism, not the ability for a person to live in harmony
with nature. Beginning in the 200's B.C. Buddhism and
Taoism began to affect and reshape the standards of
Confucianism, and things such as nature came into play.
Around A.D. 200 to 600, there was a rapid decline in the
Confucian Beliefs in China. This was partly because
Confucianism now had to compete with Buddhism and Taoism,
which were developed around this time. These religions were
to Confucianism as night is to day, in other words, they
were exact opposites. Buddhism and Taoism were largely
concerned with the meaning of suffering and death, while
Confucianism largely ignored these. The revival of
Confucianism began around the 600's and was fully revived
by the 700's. In the 1100's, there was a movement lead by
Zhu-Xi called the Neo-Confucianism movement. He developed a
branch of this movement known as the rational-wing, it
dealt with the study of Li, the relationship between humans
and nature. Another branch was called the intuitional-wing
and it dealt mostly with enlightenment by a combination of
meditation and moral action. In the 1900's there was a
clash between Confucianism and Western beliefs such as
Communism. For many years after the Communist change in
China, the Government greatly opposed Confucianism because
it tended to look into the past rather than to the future.
However, all government opposition ended in 1977. 


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